Wales’ largest on­shore wind farm is of­fi­cially un­veiled

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

WALES’ largest on­shore wind farm which can gen­er­ate enough elec­tric­ity for nearly one in six Welsh homes - has been opened.

The 76-tur­bine Pen y Cy­moedd wind farm be­tween Aber­dare and Neath was of­fi­cially opened yes­ter­day by First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones.

It comes just days af­ter Environment Sec­re­tary Les­ley Grif­fiths said she wanted Wales to gen­er­ate 70% of its elec­tric­ity from re­new­able sources by 2030.

The wind farm has been built by Swedish en­ergy group Vat­ten­fall.

Yes­ter­day Vat­ten­fall pres­i­dent and CEO Mag­nus Hall told Mr Jones he hoped for the chance to build more, say­ing: “We are in Wales to grow.”

He added: “Pen y Cy­moedd boosts Wales’ drive to car­bon re­duc­tion, it ac­cel­er­ates Vat­ten­fall’s shift to be fos­sil free in a gen­er­a­tion and it helps the Welsh econ­omy to grow.

“Vat­ten­fall and our con­trac­tors have spent £220m in the Welsh econ­omy since con­struc­tion started in 2014, 52% of the to­tal in­vest­ment we have made in Pen y Cy­moedd.

“That is quite an achieve­ment and one we will want to re­peat if we get the chance to build other wind farms in Wales. We are in Wales to grow.”

The three-year con­struc­tion project for the 228 megawatt project has se­cured work for more than 1,000 work­ers in Wales.

The First Min­is­ter said: “Wind power is a key part of our ef­forts to build a sus­tain­able low car­bon econ­omy for Wales. I am pleased we were able to sup­port this project, which has shown how the lo­cal com­mu­nity, the Welsh econ­omy and peo­ple right across the coun­try can ben­e­fit from such a scheme.”

Pen y Cy­moedd will em­ploy 23 skilled wind farm tech­ni­cians and sup­port staff from the lo­cal work­force over the next 20 years.

Huw Jones, chair­man of Jones Bros Civil Engineering which built the scheme in a joint ven­ture with Bal­four Beatty, said: “Pen y Cy­moedd has been a fan­tas­tic con­tract, not only for the busi­ness, but also our 350 em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies. Around 90% of our em­ploy­ees are Welsh, and it’s fan­tas­tic that so much of the in­vest­ment into the Pen y Cy­moedd work­force has been go­ing straight back into the Welsh econ­omy via their pay pack­ets.

“To be able to work on more on­shore wind farms in Wales would mean more good news for the busi­ness and the Welsh fam­i­lies it sup­ports.”

Diane McCrea, chair­woman of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales which man­ages the land on which the wind farm is built, said: “The environment is our most valu­able nat­u­ral as­set and Pen y Cy­moedd, con­structed on land NRW man­ages on be­half of the Welsh Gov­ern­ment, is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of the right de­vel­op­ment in the right place.

“We have worked closely with Vat­ten­fall to de­liver this project, which not only stim­u­lates pos­i­tive eco­nomic change for Wales, but also puts NRW at the fore­front of Welsh Gov­ern­ment’s low car­bon econ­omy, cli­mate change and green growth pro­grammes - all aligned to our pur­pose of man­ag­ing the environment and nat­u­ral re­sources sus­tain­ably.”

In an av­er­age year, Pen y Cy­moedd will power the equiv­a­lent of 188,000 UK homes, about 15% of Welsh house­holds.

Op­er­a­tional since spring 2017, the project will have paid back its car­bon foot­print by 2020 and will con­tinue gen­er­at­ing fos­sil fuel free elec­tric­ity till at least 2037.

Pen y Cy­moedd will dis­place in an av­er­age year more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 from fos­sil fu­elled gen­er­a­tion, based on cur­rent lev­els of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from the power sec­tor.

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